Coach Monson Supports Idaho Arena
Former men’s basketball coach Don Monson, who led the Vandals to their first back-to-back conference championship titles in 1980-81 and 1981-82, says the construction of the Idaho Arena will enhance recruiting efforts for not only student-athletes, but for the general UI student body.
“The University of Idaho basketball programs need their own identity for players, fans, and coaches,” said Monson. “The Kibbie Dome is a multi-purpose facility, and was an asset to our program during my era but it does not serve our basketball program well in the year 2015.”
"Without a dedicated facility there are numerous missed opportunities for players and coaches."
“A multipurpose arena is a hard place to sell to recruits in this day and age. Recruits care about the details. Whether it’s seating, facilities — even down to something as simple as locker room lockers — anytime you have a state-of-the-art facility, it entices new recruits.”
The facility aesthetics are not the only issue. It’s about having a dedicated place for student-athletes and fans to call home.
“The spaciousness of the dome does not provide a suitable atmosphere for college basketball. It’s designed for football and track. It’s time to have an arena that will establish an identity for the Vandals,” Monson said. “Fans are hungry to get over the top. There is a need for an arena with good seats, lighting and tradition. When you get to a place where you have an established home-identity, then you really have something.”
Monson adds that strong college sports programs around the country, with supporting facilities, can be attractive reasons to help with the general student body enrollment growth.
“If you have a notorious football team, students will want to come to your school. If you have successful sports teams, student enrollment will increase. You can look around the nation and see any successful program and you’ll find they have dedicated arenas that bring people in. Just look at all the schools that host the Big Sky Conference. It’s a proven fact,” he said.
It’s hard to deny the correlation between athletics and student enrollment.
For several decades, the Department of Athletics has grappled with the need to build a facility, leaving men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball programs without a permanent home. The Cowan Spectrum, located inside the ASUI-Kibbie Athletic Center was never intended to be a long-term solution to the need of creating a venue.
“The Kibbie Dome has served its purpose,” Monson said. “We need a basketball Arena to get the UI basketball programs over the hump. We need a facility that will grow the UI basketball identity and flourish its recruitment efforts. It's time for loyal Vandal supporters to step up and be a part of building a new basketball arena for the University of Idaho. GO VANDALS!”